Damaged Rubber repairs itself

French scientist are already producing big quantities of this artificial rubber in Paris. Ludwik Leibler, who headed the investigation, a piece of common rubber is actually a molecule with millions of millions of small units that are chemically welded to form a very united network.

The rubber doesn’t have to be mended immediately after being broken—Nature says you can wait up to 18 hours to put the pieces back together. Leibler plans to commercialize the material through French chemical company Arkema, and he expects children’s toys would be a good application for it.

The network is meshed together by weaker hydrogen bonds, which get broken when the rubber is cut but also provide an atomic “glue,” recombining into chains to bridge severed parts.

The ingredients comprise fatty acids made from ordinary vegetable oils, combined in a stepped process with diethyline triamine and urea.


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